Category Archives: To Think About

Do Elevators Go to Heaven?

Okay, how many of us have had to create the important, but oh, so intimidating elevator imagespitch for our career or business? If you haven’t you are lucky; it’s a 30 second speech on why your business/product/etc. is something the person would want to know about. I know I have had to do this many times and I strongly dislike the creation and the delivery process!

I am an off the cuff chatter up-er of strangers anywhere…much to my children’s dismay as they tagged along with me in their younger days…”Mom, why do you have to talk to everyone?!“, they would protest. Well, because I like people and secretly I like to surprise strangers by talking to them when they least expect it!

But, recently, at our weekly ChristLife session on Sharing Christ, a dear friend brought up the dreaded concept of the elevator pitch. Only this time it made so much sense!

This week’s session focused on what some of our obstacles and fears are when it comes to sharing our stories about Christ’s presence and love in our lives. When my friend, mentioned the concept of the elevator pitch in relationship to evangelization (ugh, scary and intimidating word!) my dislike of the process vanished. How many times have I been in a situation ripe for sharing the comfort and encouragement of Christ, yet felt totally unprepared?

helpingWhy not create and practice an engaging introduction to roll off my tongue when the moment presents itself? No more stumbling and wondering when a situation arises, I can see it as a weapon against the Devil’s interference play of self-doubt and fear of rejection. All I will have to do is ask the Holy Spirit to push the “start” button on the recording in my brain!

So here is a challenge for you all. Create your mission field “elevator pitch”, your personalized gift to others that could open their hearts to Christ, and share it here. I will be working on mine too!

May the Christ, son of Mary, and the encouraging Holy Spirit be with you this day.

 

Ellen Marie Dumer, LCPC, president and founder of Living Your Exceptional Life™, is a pastoral counselor, life success coach, published author, and sought-after speaker. She is a guide and mentor for Catholic/Christian women seeking to harness and cultivate their aspirations for a life based on faith in Christ.

She and her husband, Deacon Gary Dumer, live in Maryland, have 4 children and soon-to-be nine grandchildren. Ellen loves to paint and craft, read, go on long bike rides and walks, garden, and spend fun time with her friends!

The Pope at the White House: Disrespect or Opportunity?

Pope HavanaI too, reposted the articles about the invitees to the Washington reception to my Facebook page with dismay about such disrespect. Later that evening, I found myself listening to God about His plans for such an event…and went to Matthew chapter 9:9-13 The Call of Matthew.

As Jesus passed on from there, he saw a man named Matthew* sitting at the customs post. He said to him, “Follow me.” And he got up and followed him. While he was at table in his house, many tax collectors and sinners came and sat with Jesus and his disciples. The Pharisees saw this and said to his disciples, “Why does your teacher* eat with tax collectors and sinners?” He heard this and said, “Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do. Go and learn the meaning of the words, I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’* I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.”

I think the White House and others with any agenda of disrespect, will find themselves dismayed when they find that their plan has backfired. They will see the Pope, a living Vicar of Christ, using their plan of disrespect, to teach the word of God through the loving actions modeled right in front of them.

May we remember, that within each of us is the imprint of the God who lovingly created us.

 

Ellen Marie Dumer, LCPC, president and founder of Living Your Exceptional Life™, is a pastoral counselor, life success coach, published author, and sought-after speaker. She is a guide and mentor for Catholic/Christian women seeking to harness and cultivate their aspirations for a life based on faith in Christ.

She and her husband, Deacon Gary Dumer, live in Maryland, have 4 children and soon-to-be nine grandchildren. Ellen loves to paint and craft, read, go on long bike rides and walks, garden, and spend fun time with her friends!

In Mary’s Footsteps…

pathway of stones on stonesWhen the path is not clear, we look for a guide. How to choose a suitable guide for our journey? This question easily brings fogginess to the mind, blotting out clarity, and allowing us to continue our stumbling on the path of our own feeble creation.

For a Catholic woman, there are many choices, with hundreds of saints gone before us. And also, some still with us here on Earth, yet to be beatified for their daily, humble doings unseen, for there are saints that each of us know deeply in our own lives. Although they may escape the Papal crowning, our Lord sees and honors each of them as much and more!

While we may choose any or all of these blessed women, the Mother and guide of them all is our Blessed Mother. And with this in mind, she has been uppermost in my mind for many months now, with a renewed vigor and a compelling desire to turn to her daily.

So when the announcement of the exhibition Picturing Mary: Woman, Mother, Idea at the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, DC, was announced, I was thrilled and made immediate plans to attend and spend time with the creations of others who also loved and followed in her footsteps.

caccia-orsola-maddalena_virgin-child-st-anne_moncalvo_web

Today’s visit found me attracted to the beautiful Madonna and Child with St. Anne (Madonna col Bambino e Sant’Anna) by Orsola Maddalena Caccia (Moncalvo, 1596–1676), pictured here. It resonated with me at this time in my life because like St. Anne, I am a grandmother and a mother.

As my husband and I stood before it, it was he who mentioned that you never think of Jesus having a grandmother. She is not mentioned in the Bible as a part of his life, so it is impossible to know exactly what part she may have taken in his life. But, I am a fan of historical fiction, so I love the idea of envisioning St. Anne watching the Christ child playing outside his home, while Mary took care of her daily work inside…I can’t wait to ask her once I meet her in Heaven!!

May the Lord and his Blessed Mother and grandmother, St. Anne, bless you especially this week as we remember His death and Resurrection.

Ellen Marie Dumer, LCPC, president and founder of Living Your Exceptional Life™, is a pastoral counselor, life success coach, published author, and sought-after speaker. She is a guide and mentor for Catholic/Christian women seeking to harness and cultivate their aspirations for a life based on faith in Christ.

She and her husband, Deacon Gary Dumer, live in Maryland, have 4 children and soon-to-be nine grandchildren. Ellen loves to paint and craft, read, go on long bike rides and walks, garden, and spend fun time with her friends!

Be still and know I am God

Today is day three of a vacation with my husband, Gary, in the Poconos. There is snow on the ground, the air is crisp, and there is a natural stillness and quiet brought by the blanket that has been spread over the hills.

We are happy here at the Crescent Lodge and Country Inn. Right now we are sitting in the dining room with an incredible view and a yummy breakfast prepared by Harry who has worked here for 26 years. On our first night, Jill, got us settled into Devonshire, our own private little getaway with a fireplace, jacuzzi, and a canopy bed…a little piece of heaven and peacefulness…

snowflakeSo, why is it a constant effort to turn off the chatter in my brain? I have looked at every Poconos brochure in the lobby, researching what to do, where to eat, how to have fun. All the while, craving the peace and quiet to do just what I want…to settle in by that fire and read my book for as long as I want. Yesterday God intervened as the Northeaster approached and we had snow all day. I thought to myself, yes, if I could design my own Heaven, this would be it, a book, a cup of tea, a fire, snow blowing outside and my husband to cuddle up with.

BUT, today the weather is clear and the mind chatter is back…so my vacation goal is to learn to live with the chatter as a part of my natural drive and creativity and how to tame it when it is time for relaxation. I am accepting my humanness and examining the good in it, while loving the fact that I can relax with morning and evening prayer, do a little journalling, read some Scripture and spiritual reading and gaze at the gift of my husband for 7 days before reentering the world…hopefully, recharged to serve Him more energetically and creatively. (Oh, yes, I must admit I am going to catch up on Season 4 of Downton Abbey !!)

As for worries about distraction and brain chatter, here is a snippet of the December 10, 2014, post from Word on Fire  ‘St. Thomas explains that our merit rests primarily on our original intention in praying. It isn’t broken by accidental distraction, which no human being can avoid, but only by intentional and willing distraction. This also should give us some relief. We need not worry too much about distractions, as long as we don’t encourage them. We realize something of what the Psalmist says, namely, that God “pours gifts on His beloved while they slumber” (Ps 127:2)’

Thank you St. Thomas Aquinas! Now back to my vacation…may you all be blessed today!

Ellen Marie Dumer, LCPC, president and founder of Living Your Exceptional Life™, is a pastoral counselor, life success coach, published author, and sought-after speaker. She is a guide and mentor for Catholic/Christian women seeking to harness and cultivate their aspirations for a life based on faith in Christ.

She and her husband, Deacon Gary Dumer, live in Maryland, have 4 children and soon-to-be nine grandchildren. Ellen loves to paint and craft, read, go on long bike rides and walks, garden, and spend fun time with her friends!

Respecting Life: Laws and Prayer

One of my most vivid memories of my eighth grade year was learning what an abortion was. I had barely learned what sex was. Even at 13 years old, it sickened me to think that a mother would kill her baby. In small ways, I became involved in the ProLife movement and remained active for many years.

After awhile it became tiresome. Not that I had changed my belief in the sanctity of life. If anything the gift of my four children hardened it into my soul. Over the years, I became aware of the myriad arguments on both sides and came to know women who had experienced it, if not once, but several times, for many reasons.

At first I was ashamed about not showing up for the meetings, the human chains at highway intersections, and the annual March for Life. What would people think? And that is a whole other post…

christ holding a babyBut as my spiritual life was deepening, I became truly aware of  the Presence of the Holy Spirit in my life to a degree that it was an ever present life raft. There was something more vital and life-giving that the Lord was asking me to do. It hit home at a Deacon and wives conference where Helen Alvare was the keynote speaker and the Rachel’s Vineyard organization had an information booth.

At the time I had just finished my Master’s Degree in Pastoral Counseling at Loyola University. And here was God’s mission opportunity for me in the field of respect for life. During all those “active” years that were very public, I saw the worst aftermath of abortion. The soul-killing regret, shame, and depression of the mothers (AND fathers) that had aborted a child. No one had ever told them about that side effect.

As a licensed counselor, with a specialty in allowing faith in God to guide the healing process, I could sit with these parents and guide them back to a full life with God’s merciful love and full forgiveness.

Today, while we fight over laws about respecting life and abortion, God is present trying to get His message of mercy and love through to us. When we rely on God’s grace we understand that He can heal any situation of life, whether it be helping a woman to see that an unborn child’s life is precious not only now, but for future generations, or assisting a dying person in seeing  the beauty of each moment of their life.

Do we need the public activity in the fight for respecting life? Yes, awareness keeps us on our toes and gives us direction for our prayers. But, it is these prayers and our willingness to speak freely about God’s love for us that will change the hearts of those looking to end lives by their own decision so that there will no longer be any business for the abortion clinics, nor need for measures to end one’s life early. 

May the peace of Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit be with you.

Ellen Marie Dumer, LCPC, president and founder of Living Your Exceptional Life™, is a pastoral counselor, life success coach, published author, and sought-after speaker. She is a guide and mentor for Catholic/Christian women seeking to harness and cultivate their aspirations for a life based on faith in Christ.

She and her husband, Deacon Gary Dumer, live in Maryland, have 4 children and soon-to-be nine grandchildren. Ellen loves to paint and craft, read, go on long bike rides and walks, garden, and spend fun time with her friends!

Joyfully Painful Growth Toward Your Purpose

plant through crackAs we move even deeper into following our purpose there is a purging of personality characteristics that have been hidden. It IS painful, but if there can be one, a joyful pain. Yes, even more so as I step into my God gifted purpose. What we need is always provided. I ran across an article by Randy Hain that addressed exactly what I had been experiencing. Somehow seeing the words in print helped me release the obstacles!

If you are feeling stuck in finding or following your God-gifted purpose, you will enjoy this article…

http://www.integratedcatholiclife.org/2014/02/randy-hain-six-obstacles-to-catholic-authenticity/

Ellen Marie Dumer, LCPC, president and founder of Living Your Exceptional Life™, is a pastoral counselor, life success coach, published author, and sought-after speaker. She is a guide and mentor for Catholic/Christian women seeking to harness and cultivate their aspirations for a life based on faith in Christ.

She and her husband, Deacon Gary Dumer, live in Maryland, have 4 children and soon-to-be nine grandchildren. Ellen loves to paint and craft, read, go on long bike rides and walks, garden, and spend fun time with her friends!

Who Can I Trust?

Christmas vacations are over…my mind is back in the real world now.
Whatever that may be.

The break I took was intentional. A break from a lot of my business development. This made so much room for my brain cells. It left room for me to follow through on some procrastinations. But mostly it gave me time to hear important whispers from my soul.

What did they say? Love, love and again love. There were many words directing who to love, what to love, why to love, when to love, how to love and mixed in with these words were messages with the word “not” connected to them also. It’s not necessary to put all these words here. The only important one is love.

My break gave me time to feel out my thoughts not just have them jumble upon each other in a chaotic, frenzied mess. Feeling allowed me to discern what’s important right now that will benefit my future, not just soothe me in the moment.

trusting god penny

The outcome of my break? I figured out who I can trust. I can trust God and I can trust myself when I am in a connected relationship with God and the word of God. I plan on a new way of being this year. A year of being with God. Let me correct that.

A year of realizing in every possible moment that God is with me every moment and that I only need to be aware…and love.

Ellen Marie Dumer, LCPC, president and founder of Living Your Exceptional Life™, is a pastoral counselor, life success coach, published author, and sought-after speaker. She is a guide and mentor for Catholic/Christian women seeking to harness and cultivate their aspirations for a life based on faith in Christ.

She and her husband, Deacon Gary Dumer, live in Maryland, have 4 children and soon-to-be nine grandchildren. Ellen loves to paint and craft, read, go on long bike rides and walks, garden, and spend fun time with her friends!

The Blessing of Sisters

For those of you that have them…you know that yes, they are a blessing. May not always seem that way, but what would you do without them? Hey, God set us up together and that is good enough for me!

I spent the day with mine yesterday in Gettysburg, PA, having a Christmas get together. We ate at the Dobbin House and wandered the streets finding some special gifts for loved ones that you just can’t find at Macy’s! Can’t say anything about them here…or the surprise would be ruined! Later we sat in a diner having a “sisterly” conversation over hot chocolate…the two young women working there gave us more than a couple of looks and smiles as we “discussed” and laughed, shed a few tears and even held hands and prayed out loud for our relationship. My two sisters are younger than myself and twins, adding a special dimension to our relationship in more ways than one!

Probably the most famous “sister act” in the Bible is Martha and Mary…connected by love for each other and Christ even in their differences. Both wonderful women, but uniquely spirited. Take a minute to read the story…Click here.

So today, I share with you the following video clip from one of my most favorite holiday movies to bring some cheer to you as we continue to wait in celebration of Advent!

And remind you to give your sister a call today to tell her you love her no matter what!
Enjoy!

Click here to enjoy the show!

Ellen Marie Dumer, LCPC, president and founder of Living Your Exceptional Life™, is a pastoral counselor, life success coach, published author, and sought-after speaker. She is a guide and mentor for Catholic/Christian women seeking to harness and cultivate their aspirations for a life based on faith in Christ.

She and her husband, Deacon Gary Dumer, live in Maryland, have 4 children and soon-to-be nine grandchildren. Ellen loves to paint and craft, read, go on long bike rides and walks, garden, and spend fun time with her friends!

Sometimes we need to be dragged out of our safe space…

Change Me
Change me, God,

Please change me.

Though I cringe,

Kick,

Resist and resent.

Pay no attention to me whatsoever.

tiny houseWhen I run to hide

Drag me out of my safe little shelter.

Change me totally.

Whatever it takes.

However long You must work at the job.

Change me – and save me

From spiritual self-destruction.

— Ruth C. From 12 Step Prayer Book Volume II

Ellen Marie Dumer, LCPC, president and founder of Living Your Exceptional Life™, is a pastoral counselor, life success coach, published author, and sought-after speaker. She is a guide and mentor for Catholic/Christian women seeking to harness and cultivate their aspirations for a life based on faith in Christ.

She and her husband, Deacon Gary Dumer, live in Maryland, have 4 children and soon-to-be nine grandchildren. Ellen loves to paint and craft, read, go on long bike rides and walks, garden, and spend fun time with her friends!